Northwest Georgia Presbytery Overtures 47th PCA GA to Release Covenant Seminary from PCA Oversight

Northwest Georgia Presbytery approves an overture asking the 47th PCA General Assembly to approve a plan for releasing Covenant Seminary from the oversight of the Presbyterian Church in America.

The Northwest Georgia Presbytery approved an overture at its August 10, 2018 Stated Meeting, asking the 47th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America to approve a plan for releasing Covenant Theological Seminary from the oversight and any accompanying restrictions of the Presbyterian Church in America; with a generous financial subsidy provided by encouraging all Sessions to give Askings for CTS for at least the next two years at the present rate. As such, when appropriate votes have been made, CTS will then be released from being an agency of the PCA.

An overture is a means by which a Presbytery can bring a matter to the GA for consideration. This overture will be considered by the 47th PCA General Assembly at its meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 24-27, 2019.

 

OVERTURE 2 from Northwest Georgia Presbytery
“Encourage CTS toward Growth and Release from Assembly Oversight”

Whereas, on several occasions, queries have arisen (either by overtures from the lower courts or from suggestions of various boards) if denominational educational institutions deserve different or more specialized oversight than the Permanent Committees of the PCA: and

Whereas, there may be valid institutional needs and opportunities among educational 10 institutions that are limited by our current oversight, which is restricted to ordained officers; and

Whereas, other seminaries exist without oversight or support from a particular denomination and have the liberty to set their own standards for membership of their boards; and

Whereas, prospective ministerial students presently have many educational options, and removing formal oversight for one denominational seminary in no way threatens the quality of ministerial education—indeed, it could help other seminaries in their mission; and

Whereas, true liberty supports educational institutions in pursuing and adapting their mission, especially if they mature to a point where they do not wish to be exclusively under oversight by ordained officers; and

Whereas, we would not wish to restrict or hinder the true flourishing of fine faculties and institutions, nor encroach on academic freedom; and

Whereas, Covenant Theological Seminary (CTS) was founded in 1956, has been supported by PCA gifts since 1983, and is now both well established and capable of meeting its operating expenses; and

Whereas, this libertarian option necessitates no changes in CTS personnel or operations, nor does it restrict any others from freely contributing to the mission and work of CTS:

Therefore, the 47th General Assembly approves a plan for releasing CTS from Presbyterian Church in America oversight and any accompanying restrictions, with a generous financial subsidy by encouraging all Sessions to give Askings for CTS for at least the next two years at the present rate. As such, when appropriate votes have been made, CTS will then be released from being an agency of the PCA (as per BCO 14-1) formally and as to any oversight, while all parties will continue to work together for mutually beneficial ends and in all ways possible; and

Further, according to the process of BCO 26-2, to facilitate this, we recommend that the courts of the church vote to amend the BCO to read as below by simply deleting the reference to CTS in BCO 14-1.12 at the 47th General Assembly and during 2019-2020, followed by a similar vote on the RAO and By-Laws sections at the beginning of the 48th General Assembly once the BCO is amended to make those sections consistent [the relevant sections are RAO 4-3, 5-1(b)3, 5-2, 14-1, and Article VI-3 (which is simply to be deleted) of the Corporate By-Laws of Presbyterian Church in America (A Corporation)] with the amended BCO 14-1.12, while encouraging PCA churches to continue their giving to CTS in the future as they may.

Accordingly, we overture to amend BCO 14-1.12 as follows, with the RAO and ByLaws to conform afterwards:

  1. The Assembly permanent committees are the Administrative Committee of General Assembly, Committee on Christian Discipleship Ministries, Committee on Mission to North America, Committee on Mission to the World, and Committee on Reformed University Fellowship.

The Administrative Committee of General Assembly (AC) shall consist of twenty (20) nineteen (19) members:

a. Eleven members in classes elected through the standard nomination and election procedure,

b. One member each from the following program committees or agencies:

1.Committee on Discipleship Ministries (CDM);

2. Covenant College (CC);

3. Covenant Theological Seminary (CTS); . . .

and renumber the other Committees or Agencies in this section, with the rest of this section remaining un-amended.

So that the 47th 27 General Assembly amends BCO 14-1.12 to read:

  1. The Assembly permanent committees are the Administrative Committee of General Assembly, Committee on Christian Discipleship Ministries, Committee on Mission to North America, Committee on Mission to the World, and Committee on Reformed University Fellowship.

The Administrative Committee of General Assembly (AC) shall consist of nineteen (19) members:

a. Eleven in classes elected members through the standard nomination and election procedure,

b. One member each from the following program committees or agencies:

1. Committee on Discipleship Ministries (CDM);

2. Covenant College (CC)

3. Mission to North America (MNA);

4. Mission to the World (MTW);

5. PCA Foundation (PCAF);

6. PCA Retirement & Benefits, Inc. (RBI);

7. Reformed University Fellowship (RUF);

8. Ridge Haven Conference Center (RH).

|The eleven members at large shall serve a term of four years. The chairman of the Administrative Committee shall be one of its members at large.

Each program committee and agency shall designate its member each year at the last meeting of the committee or board before the meeting of General Assembly. The chief administrative officers of the program committees and agencies may attend any meeting of the Administrative Committee. They shall be entitled to the privilege of the floor but shall not have a vote and must be excluded when an executive session is called.

Committee on Discipleship Ministries, Committee on Mission to North America, Committee on Mission to the World, and Committee on Reformed University Fellowship shall consist of fifteen (15) men divided into five classes of three men each, with two men being TEs and one RE or two men being REs and one TE on alternate years, elected to serve five-year terms. Committees on Discipleship Ministries, Mission to North America, Mission to the World, and Reformed University Fellowship shall have one ruling and one teaching elder as alternates to fill any vacancy that may occur during the year.

Persons who have served for a full term, or for at least two years of a partial term, on one of the Assembly’s permanent committees or agencies shall not be eligible for re-election to an Assembly committee until one year has elapsed. (Exceptions may be permitted in agency bylaws approved by the Assembly.)

Adopted by Northwest Georgia Presbytery at its stated meeting, August 18, 2018
Attested by TE P. Legree Finch, stated clerk

Source